Councils given extra powers over starter homes policy

Councils will be allowed to decide how many starter homes are built in their area after peers at the House of Lords supported two amendments to the Housing and Planning Bill.

Changes to the policy include giving local authorities more power to protect the supply of affordable housing in their local area. Another amendment also included compelling people to pay back a proportion of the discount they receive if they sell the property within 20 years rather than the proposed eight years.

Commenting on the amendments, John Healey, shadow housing minister, said: “It is welcome that ministers have conceded ground on plans to protect affordable homes in rural areas. Ministers must now urgently listen to the wider concerns with the Housing and Planning Bill, including on their own side, and come back with changes to improve this Bill.

Housing spokesperson Baroness Cathy Bakewell added: “We have forced the government to think again about giving large cash handouts to the better off. Starter Homes must be delivered fairly and should not simply exacerbate housing inequalities.”